Conductive materials are fundamental to nearly all energy use applications. Developing manufacturing processes for conductivity-enhanced materials in motors, generators, and renewable power technologies could lower costs and climate impacts while improving energy efficiency and other performance.
The competition aims to unite a diverse collection of researchers and inventors to develop transformative, cost-effective approaches and technologies to accelerate American entrepreneurship and pinpoint pathways for further research and development funding and technology transition efforts.
The Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications (CABLE) Conductor Manufacturing Prize aims to help supercharge our U.S. energy and manufacturing industries. Competitors must demonstrate significant enhancements in conductivity and affordability that enable U.S. manufacturers to leapfrog to next-generation materials.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO)launched the CABLE Conductor Manufacturing Prize to encourage such breakthrough conductivity-enhanced materials. Up to 4 Grand Prize winners will be selected in this three-stage, three-year contest.
Competitors submitted their breakthrough concepts to develop and manufacture a new, affordable, conductivity-enhanced material useable for electrical or thermal applications. Ten winners each received $25,000 in cash awards and a stipend for third-party testing of their material in Stage 2 of the prize. Stage 1 of the prize helped inform DOE about the minimum-conductivity enhancement and other property standards, as well as the types of support that competitors will likely need from DOE national laboratories or other American-Made Challenges Network providers in the next two stages of the prize.
Stage 2 (OPEN December 2021):
Competitors will provide a sample of their material for electrical conductivity testing according to prize requirements to be published in early Winter 2021. Competitors will also provide preliminary plans to scale-up and manufacture the material. Up to 6 competitors each will win $200,000 in cash awards and $100,000 in noncash voucher support to work with a DOE national laboratory (including user facilities) or other American-Made Challenges Network provider in Stage 3. Any eligible entity can compete in Stage 2 regardless of whether they were a competitor in Stage 1.
Competitors successful in Stage 2 will develop a larger sample of their conductivity-enhanced material. Competitors also must provide substantial background information on how the sample was made and plans to commercialize the material. At least three testing organizations will evaluate each material sample for conductivity and other characteristics. Scores will be based, in part, on the conductivity enhancement (size and extent of breakthrough), other important material characteristics, and leapfrog manufacturability and affordability. Up to 4 competitors will split a total prize pool of at least $2,000,000.
You can review the Stage 1 official rules or the Stage 2 rules when they are ready here.
The CABLE Prize Needs YOUR Feedback! The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) on behalf of DOE. This RFI is intended for the Conductivity-enhanced materials for Affordable, Breakthrough Leapfrog Electric and thermal applications (CABLE) community and broader material testing industry to provide feedback on CABLE Prize Stage 2 documentation, testing requirements, and specifications as well as on potential vendors for the testing itself.
In Stage 2, the focus will be on quantitative verification of electrical conductivity enhancement (or the equivalent) through testing and detailed documentation of costs and affordability. The RFI deadline is Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 5 p.m. MT. Please visit the website to learn more: https://www.nrel.gov/manufacturing/rfi-cable-prize-stage-2-testing.html
Congratulations to the 10 teams that have won Stage 1 of the competition! We’d like to thank all of the competing teams for their time, effort, and impressive submissions.
All Stage 1 entries were top quality, and the selection process was highly competitive. The prize administration team encourages competitors who were not selected in Stage 1 to continue to refine their concept based on judges’ feedback and compete in Stage 2 of the competition. If you submitted an entry to Stage 1 of the CABLE Prize, we will be reaching out with an email notification and information regarding next steps shortly.
Next up is Stage 2 of the prize, which is tentatively scheduled to open in December 2021.
Be sure to stay engaged on the HeroX forum, where we’ll share updates about Stage 2 of the competition.
Thank you again and congrats to our Stage 1 winners!
We strongly encourage that you upload your submissions well ahead of the 5 p.m. ET deadline so that you don't have any last-minute technical difficulties. If you run into any technical difficulties or have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline.
We look forward to receiving your breakthrough concepts!